British traders have slammed an unexpected move by eBay to prune the range of payment methods it accepts. On Friday morning, Pacific Time - Friday evening in Europe - eBay declared that Nochex, a Leeds-based payment gateway, was no longer acceptable as a payment mechanism. Google's new Checkout service also found itself in the sin bin.
But traders say that the abrupt notification left them scrambling over the weekend to avoid being delisted.
"It's a complete ballsup - they've really mismanaged this," one British PowerSeller told us. "It's extremely aggravating as it means a major change in the way we operate - and puts us at risk of losing our accounts," said the trader, who requested anonymity.
Nochex appeared unfazed by the news. A statement posted this afternoon on its user forums simply stated:
"We are not aware of the reasons for this sudden change in policy.
"While we are disappointed with eBay's latest corporate action we would like to offer our thanks and appreciation to all of you who have used our payment services on the eBay platform over the past 6 years and we look forward to continuing to provide our payments services to all our core off eBay partners."
eBay UK appears to have listened to tumult from traders over the weekend. A statement acknowledged the sudden policy changed had caused "worry and uncertainty" and vowed not delist items already listed with Nochex while giving traders until August 21 to remove Nochex as a payment option.
eBay acquired PayPal for $1.5bn four years ago. Friday's move to prohibit Google's newly unveiled payment mechanism Google Checkout has been interpreted as a pre-emptive strike. But this is a harsh interpretation, as eBay's long-standing policy only approves payment mechanisms after they've proved themselves in the marketplace, and after only two days, that isn't something Checkout can do.
eBay had not returned our request for comment at press time. ®